Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sweet corn, butter & salt

On Labour Day weekend corn-on-the-cob is standard fare. Given its indescribable freshness, having anything more than a piece of bread with it is superfluous. The condiments of butter and salt naturally go without saying! The recipe obviously hasn't the complexity of Osso Buco but both are monarchs of peasant dishes. The secret is the employment of fresh ingredients. It is a lesson in simplicity and a reminder that supply-and-demand is not the key to every success.

Friday, August 30, 2019


Trickery of almost any order is not gleefully tolerated though as a species of conduct it may perhaps escape outright condemnation if the object of the deceit doesn't affect others. As I am not above the confession of an element of dissimulation in my own conduct - or at the very least a degree of posturing - I prefer to dilute the abuse by characterizing it as imaginative conjecture without the actual taint of falsity. Though this may amount to distinction without a difference it nonetheless relieves me in my own mind of complete betrayal - either to myself or to others. Furthermore it captures the benign ambition of whimsy, that fanciful humour with which I adorn my reality.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

From Blasphemy to Blasé

Last night I slept well. After 48 hours of disorder the tenor of my sterile existence returned to Middle-C. The events transpired miraculously though I know not without industry.  What disguises the draining handiwork is the extraordinary relief upon turning the corner. I'm today in a different universe, wallowing in my own ineffable greatness. Mine is predominantly an unblemished life. I don't aspire to commotion.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Okay, I'll admit it, I've impatient! Yet whenever I am reminded of this - as I routinely am - it provokes within me a moderate revolution.  I accept the endowment of allowing things to unfold. What threatens the largesse is the discovery that nothing is being done. The unearthing of the immobility is as regularly preceded by an assurance to do the exact opposite. Pshaw! Mendacious utterances! Regrettably this clinical reasoning is seemingly for my benefit only and represents a Pyrrhic Victory at best.  Apparently prosecution has more than one meaning!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Who writes this stuff!

It is treacherous to pretend ever to have ironed out the affairs of the world. The stratum below the perceptible veneer is teeming with commotion. Like the cicada it suddenly emerges after prolonged absence and frequently with overwhelming effect. Similarly the cycles of these satiating influences are not synchronized.  Consider the unfolding events of today. The only thing approaching predicability is that they transpired in the dog days of summer. Nor is the paradox lost on me that "when the Skolymus flowers the tuneful Tettix sitting on his tree in the weary summer season pours forth from under his wings his shrill song".

Another well-known song "La Cigarra" (The Cicada) written by Raymundo Perez Soto is a song in the mariachi tradition that romanticizes the insect as a creature that sings until it dies.

Surely there's a lesson here.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Artistic Influence

Shopping and sugar are abominations and addictions of a frightful order.  The dependency can however be quelled. A measure of restful sleep unquestionably aids in the recovery. While the variable of restraint can be added I'm afraid that accommodation doesn't work especially well for me. I'm far too obsessive. Instead I prefer to tranquillize my excesses by adopting the reasoned conviction that I can never consume all that there is so I am prudent to confine my indulgences to endorsement of what I already have. In summary if I never frequent a furniture store again it will be too soon; and my larder is already replete with raw fruit, nuts and vegetables.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Nasty Innuendo

Not everyone values the shrill drone of cicadas. For me however their drum-like tymbals mark the final and spellbinding days of summer when the humidity drops and the skies are clear. The hum is to my ear almost soporific. Being on the threshold of harvest and the edge of summer a divinely narrow avenue.

"The paired tymbals of a cicada are located on the sides of the abdominal base. The "singing" of a cicada is not stridulation as in many other familiar sound-producing insects like crickets  (where one structure is rubbed against another): the tymbals are regions of the exoskeleton that are modified to form a complex membrane with thin, membranous portions and thickened "ribs". These membranes vibrate rapidly, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae make the cicada's body serve as a resonance chamber, greatly amplifying the sound. Some cicadas produce sounds louder than 106 dB (SPL), among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds. They modulate their noise by positioning their abdomens toward or away from the substrate."

Friday, August 23, 2019

Spittoons and Cigars

It’s all part of a sweeping shift into SUVs and crossovers, which offer more space, a higher stance and fuel economy that’s vastly better than a decade ago. About 1 in 2 vehicles sold in 2019 will be SUVs or crossovers, according to projections by car-buying advice site Edmunds. “Primarily it’s a shift away from passenger cars – compacts, hatchbacks, those types of vehicles,” said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor of Kelley Blue Book.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Afternoon Outing

Living as we do in the rapturous Ottawa Valley the only difficulty finding an agreeable place for a pit stop on a balmy summer afternoon is deciding what direction to go. We've literally canvassed venues at every point of the compass and never been disappointed. Today the initial magnetism came from the south on the St. Lawrence Seaway specifically the Ivy Lea Club. However we didn't make it that far.  Instead we detoured en route for some focaccia bread in the Village of Spencerville.  One thing led to another and we ended diminishing our erstwhile fervency.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nice Stuff!

Astonishingly even Country Life - what some have called "real estate porn" - has begun to document the allure of downsizing.  An article in a recent number under the Interiors heading entitled "Master in miniature" spoke about how "the tiniest estate buildings can make wonderful homes".  John Tanner - who transformed a 600sq ft gardener's bothy at Gunton Hall - wrote that "Breathing life into unloved estate buildings is an immensely satisfying task". Adding to this vulgarity, he referenced country estates diversifying income streams and the rise in popularity of using short-let services such as Airbnb by which owners are looking more creatively at how to make the most of their properties, turning unremarkable or pokey buildings into successful businesses.  What he failed to mention is what has been an historical predicament attending the British manor house and mansion - namely, decay and deterioration.  It is now a worldwide evolution of accelerating scope.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blissful Summer Day

Today was an unsurpassable summer's day - cloudless sky, dry air, soaring temperature and a light breeze! No doubt it helped that my mental and physical mechanics were equally exceeded.  I seriously believe that one's personal dynamics are as mercurial as the weather - both as to predictability and sublimity. There is arguably be some stock in what led up to today's explosion of delight but I count that not as entitlement so much as fortuity.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Backbone of the Law - the Modern Legacy

Since the seventeenth century one of the most significant achievements of emerging Canadian law was the successful transplantation from Europe and adaptation to local circumstances of the British common law and French code civil to marriage, family, property and succession. While providing opportunities for capital accumulation, the European law (as opposed to Indigenous law) "was concerned to establish a complex balance among competing goals; namely, to uphold the authority of husbands over wives and parents (mostly fathers) over children while also aiming at the equality of siblings (of both genders) and the protection of the interests of widows and minor children" (A History of Law in Canada, Vol. 1 beginnings to 1866). Otherwise the primary focus of contract law was that devoted to indentured labourers whose distinct legality was essentially that of a servant ("a man obliged to go wherever and do whatever his master commanded like a slave during the time of his indentureship", reported Governor Frontenac in 1681).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Your card expires in 59 days

We've begun looking at alternatives - places to go in the winter.  The latest gander is Texas, along the Gulf naturally, not inland. While it is more distant than Florida we're already contemplating a preference for flying instead of driving.  Quite honestly as much as I adore driving, the jaunt from Canada to Florida is fundamentally a freeway excursion at best, not exactly a scenic tour. In any event the more compelling reality is that travel after a certain age is work. And yes, we've considered exotic destinations like Costa Rica and Argentina and places as far afield as New Zealand.  Third World countries are out of the question.  Europe seems terribly busy; and the temperatures there are not as attractive mid-winter. In any event the contemplation at this stage is pure entertainment in response to curiosity. We're already committed for the upcoming season and we have no complaint whatsoever about our present venue or arrangement. Besides who knows what the state of things will be a year from now?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Clean windshield and a full tank of gas...

Many years ago a young friend of mine - whom in retrospect I now adjudge to have been uncommonly prescient - said "All you need in life is a clean windshield and a full tank of gas!" He clearly derived a measure of poetic inspiration from the retail motor vehicle dealership where he worked. His foresight not only captured his boyish vigour but was on balance insightful - especially since he tragically died in a car accident one winter's eve on the edge of town at 19 years of age.  He further qualified the narrowness of his foreknowing by also having said, "The first thing you do with a new car is beat it with a baseball bat then drive it through a barbed wire fence!"  Today as I drove along the ribbon of highway through the countryside in my recently cleaned and fully-maintained automobile I awoke to the genius of what my late friend had said.  The combination of hopeful prospective (a clean windshield),  the energy to go forward (a full tank of gas) and a battered carcass (the damaged automobile) said it all, not only as a digestible reality but also as a reminder that the status of the present has little truck with the dynamic of the future.  If one were so inclined the paradigm also urges the insignificance of materialism (a theoretical manifestation to which I confess I have yet fully to ascend).

Thursday, August 15, 2019


For me the unflattering result of society  - more specifically, social engagement - is the necessity of recovery. I have become such a tarsome habitué of my own insular scope that I can no longer manage the fallout without earnest readjustment.  The reclamation is reminiscent of my erstwhile housekeeping following a dinner party - though happily without the physical demands of alcohol poisoning.  Apart from that physical recuperation the psychical rally is no less directed to purgation.  In short I have become a convict of my personal obsessions - which even more disparagingly will not alarm anyone who knows me. By way of defence I have the arrogance of excusing my incapacity by confidently asserting it is my posture of preference! Increasingly I have lapsed into what some might more generously - and metaphorically - label "retirement to the country with his book and bottle".  However the descent is characterized the hard truth is that - perhaps without the stimulus of blended whiskey (and certainly without the infection of youth and all that that entails) - I have instead willingly succumbed to a quiet and repetitive lifestyle, a confessed mediocrity.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Paddling through the marsh - the draff and dross of my day

The remnants of my day reflect the moderately peculiar crusades undertaken. This isn't to say I did anything especially grave. The adventures lacked both purpose and ambition - heralded in part by my uncommonly late arising at precisely ten o'clock this morning when I could no longer endure the embarrassment of inactivity. I did however rejoice in the unusual vernacular. Its whimsical nature inspired playfulness - even a forbearing sense of entitlement. I mustn't take credit for the relaxation.  It was motivated by the exigencies of my ophthalmologist on the heels of  lens replacement in the right eye. The surgery is a refined alteration I haven’t the wish to disturb. Bicycling is right out. Lethargy is preferred.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Swaying to the motion

The imperative of one's bounded being is both magical and unimaginatively systemic. Yet to say that one is undeservedly dynamic dilutes the gratuitous power of nature. Though we cannot take credit for much of what transpires in our daily lives it nonetheless warrants our marvel and acclaim. We are alike as vehicles of the sublime as a flower is of heavenliness and wonder. In short I've had a superbly pleasant day in spite of myself!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Erin & Julien

Erin and Julien
The Epithalamic Union

As a relic of the legal art
I’m still aroused by words.
And never to the point to say
That law is for the birds.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Change of Focus

You wouldn't think laser eye surgery would be much of an undertaking but you'd be wrong.  I was astonishingly drained after the performance early yesterday morning.  Afterwards I slept for a good deal of the afternoon, the type of relapse more generally associated with honest physical labour. The bloody thing quite took it out of me! My respite wasn't long-lived. I was bolted again to duty and standing upright bright and early this morning to revisit the surgeon's office for the initial "follow up" which - as a cautious mandarin of the legal process - I unhesitatingly perceive to be a delicate way of capturing the distinct possibility of trouble. Luckily for me I appear to have escaped any so-called "complications".  Yet they want to see me again in another four days. This medical procedure is seemingly less durable than open heart surgery when the soonest I had to re-attend the hospital was three months thereafter or earlier if sudden death approached.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Lunch at the Golf Club

The serene days of summer are racing. We chose today to venture nearby to revel in the warm weather and gentle breezes. First we stopped for lunch at the golf club overlooking the meandering Mississippi River and spreading manicured greens. The fields of emerald coloured corn stalks are mounting skyward and will soon approach the late August harvest. Summer in Canada is so ephemeral. I am thankful to have the bliss to indulge its beneficence. We’re not currently plagued by the random disappointments of life or by what increasingly are the predictable havocs of aging and irrepressible decline.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trump Twit

Joe Biden has come out swinging.  The latest mass-shootings in the United States of America are now aligned directly with the brain-dead rhetoric of their President. As importantly Biden and Beto O'Rourke have captured the moment to unite Americans in an alternate view of their own destiny - a view happily elevated above anger and hatred, one which instead offers some dignity to the human spirit. The words being used to criticize Trump are unequivocal and damaging.  Trump is portrayed as incapable and racist. The contrast between Trump's Twitter feed and his teleprompter image is catastrophic.  Trump's practiced public performances have about as much authenticity as a struggling child in a junior school play. His patent lack of intelligence and incompatibility with reason are painful to watch.  And the world is watching.  And the Americans know it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Peas and Life

On our way home from the Ottawa Heart Institute this afternoon we stopped at a grocery store and bought provisions.  Among them a jar of beans.  Beans are my latest passion.  They conveniently replace salmon and filet mignon (both of which I still like naturally but the beans are far less work).  I just throw them onto my usual chopped raw veggies.  I confess I bought another carafe of maple syrup.  I have convinced myself it cleanses the innards.  Combined with All-Bran and raw walnuts, it's a soothing end-of-day treat.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Pause for reflection

By the time I sat on the patio chair under the umbrella at Starbuck's coffee shop in Bells Corners I had recovered my equilibrium.  Earlier my evenness had been seriously disrupted by a chance encounter with a vagrant on the Appleton Side Road.  The chap initially appeared in my panorama when he stood next to his car by the side of the road waving his arms for assistance.  I instinctively pulled over.  Because my car windows were already down the fellow had no trouble leaning into the passenger door and extending his right hand towards me with the intention of shaking my hand (a gesture I resisted). He then proceeded in what seemed to be Spanish - then broken English - to inform me that his credit card was temporarily malfunctioning.  My alert bells instantly went off!  I muttered, "Oh, geez!" and pushed off.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

John Hawley Kerry

John Hawley Kerry
Born: August 5th, 1929

On the Eve of his 90th Birthday Celebration
Almonte United Church, Social Hall
106 Elgin Street
Almonte, Ontario
Sunday, August 4th
From 1:30 to 4:30

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Keegan Kit

It's a silly adage, but so often I find it's true - that things come in threes.  At times I become nervous about the legitimacy of the slogan especially when it appears to relate predictably to unfortunate or undesirable events.  Today's emanation is however happily more amusing and topical than spooky.  Its immediate texture involves paternalistic relations and progression. Specifically the initial outpouring came from Succession, a television black comedy series on HBO. Its scope encompasses the well-known binary tussles between individual and family, between cerebral and visceral, soul and mortality, art and commerce.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

More from the past...

On March 17, 2015 I published a blog in which I referenced my relationship to George Burpee Burnett.

George Burpee Burnett

The ancestral acquaintance is connected to Henry Josiah DeForest about whom I received today a quite unexpected email highlighting the continuing interest I and others have in our past. I was especially intrigued to learn that DeForest was a Freemason. He may have been instrumental in championing my paternal grandfather's interest in the Craft (an association which escaped my own father). It was while sporting my grandfather's gold watch and chain (from which hung a fob of the well known symbols of Freemasonry - the square and compass) that I was unwittingly first identified as a relative of a member of the Lodge.

Freemasonry - DeForest